REAL AUSTRALIA

Make a fire plan. Whatever else you're doing right now can wait

Voice of Real Australia is a regular newsletter from Australian Community Media, which has journalists in every state and territory. Sign up here to get it by email, or here to forward it to a friend. Today's newsletter is written by ACM'S head of audience Gayle Tomlinson.

It has taken a community to come together to get a hold on what have been the worst fires we've seen in more than 20 years. Photo: Talaya Abbott.

It has taken a community to come together to get a hold on what have been the worst fires we've seen in more than 20 years. Photo: Talaya Abbott.

Today is not a normal day.

Many of our reporters have spent the weekend reporting on the fires in NSW. They've worked through the night alongside the rural fire service to make sure their local communities are kept informed and ultimately safe during this horrific time.

Our staff will continue to do this until the fires die out and then they'll pick up where we left off covering the local stories that matter to our communities.

I'm writing this in the comfort of my home office in Woonona (yes, the tiny house has an office), watching the devastation from afar, but also with the knowledge this could be us tomorrow as catastrophic fire conditions are expected for the Illawarra and the rest of NSW tomorrow.

I'll be in Sydney the rest of the week and as childcare providers text message parents to warn them of the fire danger, my husband and I have made the decision that he'll stay at home. Just in case.

We've made a fire plan. Just in case. We've cleared the guttering. Just in case. We've trimmed our trees back. Just in case.

If you've not done these things yet, do it now. Whatever else you are doing can wait. Even if you live in Victoria, Tasmania, the ACT, Northern Territory or Queensland.

Just ask Louis Stoker and the children who attend the now burned to the ground Wytaliba Public School. Ask the residents of McHughs Creek where at least seven houses have been destroyed.

If you're in doubt here is the advice from the Rural Fire Service. Now, get it done.

From all of us at Voice of Real Australia stay safe.

Gayle Tomlinson

Head of Audience, Australian Community Media

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